The play mat... A gift on every birth list, it is an obligation in every home when baby is born, just like the playpen, the bathtub, the bibs, the bouncer, the stuffed animals...
But what is a play mat? What is it used for? How long is it useful in a baby's life?
A playmat is a thin blanket, often round and fleecy, with an integrated arch. In order to put your baby on this mat, you have to add another layer of material because the mat does not absorb the baby's weight so well. It seems as if the baby will not be very snug on this mat.
Between birth and the second month, the baby needs a still simple environment, to be carried in the arms, a bed and love.
At around 2 months of age, your baby starts to look at you, follow you with his eyes and there is more and more interaction between you and your baby.
The play mat starts to make sense from the age of two and a half months.
The baby will start to really look at and enjoy looking at things at around 3 months. On the other hand, reaching for toys will not be possible yet. This is because the toys on the arch are too high and the child will not be able to reach them until he is 3.5 months old.
Catching means directing the hand towards a specific object in front of the eyes, opening the hand and then closing it to keep the object in the hand. The child then takes the toy directly into his mouth, except on the play mat, where the toy is attached to the arch and he cannot take it. He looks at it. This is how it is done at around 4 months. The mouvements are getting better and better. He lifts his legs and tries to move the toys on the arch with his feet. He starts to be interested in the toys on the sides.
At this age, the baby begins to prepare for the rollover. To let the baby explore his body fully, the arch must be removed, as he will often stumble into it. The learning of mouvements will be involuntarily slowed down by the arch.
The philosophy of Montessori and Emmi Pikler are the precursors of the idea of letting your baby evolve without restricting his development with objects that could stop his free motor skills.
I often see this in my practice when I ask families about the child's position, the time spent on the floor and in a bouncer. Please note that my aim is in no way to make you feel guilty.
I just want to give you another way to set up your child.
When I talk to parents who bring their babies to me with motor delays and/or a slightly deformed head, I ask them if they have a babymat at home. Most of them answer that they have one. In the course of the discussion, I understand that it is in fact a play mat, and not a proper babymat.
But what is the difference between a play mat and a babymat?
The playmat is really useful between the 3 and 4 and a half months of the baby. A play mat costs on average between 60 and 100€ with a real usefulness of about 1 and a half months. This is a very short term investment.
On the other hand, the Tamoli babymat is a real investment for the long term and has several features such as :
- Kid's sofa
- Spare bed
- Yoga/gym mats
- Mats for playing, reading or sharing with the family
Free motor skills consist of leaving your child on the floor to discover his/her body and learn to move.
If you want to leave your child on the floor, the Tamoli babymat is essential.
Put your child on the floor, sit next to him, and play with him.
That's what a Tamoli babymat is all about.